1986 Oldsmobile Firenza 4 door sedan 2.0 FI
One of the best cars I've had
1986 Olds Firenza 4-door sedan.
Mileage is approximate. It had at least 150k on it when I bought it, and I put at least 25-30k miles on it in about 1-1/2 years of ownership.
Light tapping sound from engine at idle (didn't affect performance, and never got worse, even under heavy abuse).
Passenger side CV joint made slight noise while driving (didn't click around corners however like my previous import models). The seller warned me the CV joint needed replacement, but I kept putting it off since it wasn't too loud.
Replaced the factory Delco AM/FM tuner with a later model Delco with cassette deck from a junkyard, so I could play my CDs with a tape adapter & Discman. It was difficult to get it back in the dash the right way, so it sat kinda cockeyed in there.
The CV joint eventually failed, leaving me stranded in the middle of nowhere. It was inconvenient, but totally my fault for ignoring the problem when I knew better.
It was very bare-bones... no power anything and didn't even have a factory tape deck. I picked it up at the age of 19 for $100 from the second owners (a friend's parents). I wasn't looking for a second car, but the offer came my way, my Grand Marquis was a gas hog, and I figured it'd save the Grand Marquis some wear and tear. I had little expectations out of the Firenza from the beginning, but its durability surprised the hell out of me.
It looked like a bucket (no hubcaps, ugly 80's styling). But the blue paint still had a decent shine to it, there was really no rust to speak of, and the interior was in great shape considering how old the car was. I liked the vinyl on the front doors with "Firenza" across it. I sorta ridiculed the Firenza for not being a "real" Oldsmobile (aka full-sized with a V-8), but at the end of the day it was a great car.
The Firenza is a clone of the Chevy Cavalier from that time period. I've owned an '86 Cavalier also, which was equally reliable, even after being T-boned by a full-size Chevy Tahoe... I should've been injured in that accident, but wasn't, owing to these cars' surprising build quality (all steel). These things are little tanks.
I was very irresponsible at that age, and hung out with equally irresponsible people. My hooligan friends and I drove the Firenza basically 24/7, oftentimes in various states of impairment (shame on me) and showed the car no mercy. Never changed the oil, revved it way higher than I should've, tried to race much faster cars, ignored the CV joint problem, and basically beat on it til it broke. It handled great in the winter, and was awesome on gas compared to the 302 in my other car, even when I had 4 other people crammed in it.
The car broke down in a very rural area. I got lost and went to turn around in someone's driveway, and the car made a loud CRUNCH when putting it from drive to reverse, and wouldn't move after that. I knew immediately what the problem was, and I'm surprised it didn't happen much sooner. I couldn't afford a tow, and since the car was stuck on some random old peoples' property (they were pretty cool about the whole thing), I just gave them the title and was done with it.
I have fond memories in this car and a few regrets (made some poor choices in those days), and wish I still had the thing, since it was a hell of a car and the 80's are making a comeback. The Firenza was never a "cool" car, but nowadays I think it kinda would be. If another Firenza came my way at a decent price, I'd jump on it.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 16th October, 2013
17th Oct 2013, 22:14
"the 80's are making a comeback."
- I sure hope not. 1980s cars were really bad for the most part.
18th Oct 2013, 08:55
Fullsize and midsize GM and Fords from the 80's were good cars.
23rd Oct 2013, 13:01
My '89 Chevy Celebrity was more reliable than my 2002 Honda Accord has been...
18th Feb 2015, 19:37
Hi, I was wondering if you could get a hold of some parts from your car. I know you said that you gave up the title to the people's house it landed on, but it helps to ask. My friends mother passed away leaving the car to her. She needs a part from the back bumper. I'm not even sure she can inspect the car without it. I hope you can help, and if you can't I understand. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
1st Jan 2017, 05:32
No, they were even bad by 80s (low) standards. Why do you think that's when the Japanese rose to prominence in the US?
2nd Jan 2017, 01:19
Once again, fullsize and midsize GM and Fords from the '80s were good cars. I'm not referring to compact and sub-compact front wheel drives that were trying to compete with your beloved Japanese vehicles. For example an '83 Buick Electra or Mercury Grand Marquis were both capable of 250,000 or even 300,000 miles.